The Alsace Wine Route is a tourist route located in Alsace, France. It is a must-see when visiting the region! It crosses the vineyards of Alsace from north to south over 170 kilometers, from Marlenheim to Thann. The Alsace wine route passes through the most beautiful villages of the region, such as Riquewihr, Eguisheim, Kaysersberg and Ribeauvillé.
In this article I will talk about the most beautiful villages of the Alsace Wine Routeor more exactly my favorites, but I might as well tell you right now: they are all beautiful! When you take this road, you can only marvel at each of the places you pass through, which offer typical scenery of the region. I advise you to take the time to go through it.
How to do the Wine Route in Alsace ?
You can easily travel the Wine Route by car or by bike (I clearly recommend this option if you have time, don’t hesitate to read my article on the Alsace Wine Route by bike ), or thanks to the Kutzig bus for some villages.
To go from one village to another, follow the Wine Route (signs indicate it) and do not take the highway: the latter is certainly faster, but taking the Wine Route is really part of the experience: you will enjoy yourself!
Why are the villages of the Alsace Wine Route so well known?
The towns and villages of the Alsace Wine Route are a must during a visit to Alsace simply because… They are beautiful! Some of them are also part of the Most Beautiful Villages of France.
Here are some of the things that make them so enjoyable to visit:
- The location of the villages is incredible: they are nestled in the middle of the vineyards, in the foothills of the Vosges. Beware, postcard landscapes at stake!
- Thearchitecture is superb: you will find many half-timbered houses with colored facades but also beautiful Renaissance houses, incredible wine farms… We are amazed at every step, don’t forget to look up to admire the many details!
- The flowering of the houses in Alsace lives up to its reputation. I think I have never seen a place in France as flowery as Alsace!
- Gastronomy: in Alsace, you will quickly discover it… We like to eat and drink well! You can take advantage of your visit to the villages of the Wine Route to stop for a wine tasting and a cellar visit at an Alsatian winemaker’s, but also take a lunch break in a winstub, a typical brewery of the region, to taste the Alsatian specialties.
What are the most beautiful villages in Alsace? The must-haves
I start with the towns and villages of the Alsace Wine Route, which are certainly among the most beautiful, but also the most touristic: Colmar, Kaysersberg, Eguisheim, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé and Obernai. If you don’t like crowds, avoid summer and Christmas markets to be more quiet. That being said, I can only recommend you visit them: they are not known for nothing 😉
What is the capital of Alsace wines? Colmar
Colmar is the capital of Alsace wines. It is one of the three largest cities in Alsace (with Strasbourg and Mulhouse). Colmar is really a little jewel, you have to take the time to walk through its small streets, it’s magical!
North of Colmar, Kaysersberg is located… in the Kaysersberg Valley. I say this because I like this valley a lot in general. I can’t get enough of the panorama of the vineyard that you have when you arrive in the valley from Colmar, and the beautiful views from the heights of the village, especially from the ruins of the imperial castle. Kayserberg was elected favorite village of the French in 2017, and you will understand why when you visit it, it’s beautiful!
Another village very close to Colmar, but this time in the south, Eguisheim was also elected favorite village of the French (but in 2013). This charming village built in a snail shape is very pleasant to walk through.
Riquewihr is nicknamed the Pearl of the Vineyard, and is one of the most beautiful villages in France. It’s a lovely village that really deserves a visit, even if it’s also really touristy!
Ribeauvillé, just next to Riquewihr, is a little less known than this one and has succeeded in my opinion to keep more of a local life which is not only turned towards tourism. It is a small medieval city full of charm, with very beautiful buildings and beautiful half-timbered houses that we discover during a stroll in its paved streets. I like it a lot!
Obernai is a little less known than the previous ones but remains a must in my opinion. It is a city that I love, very close to my gite and near the Mont Sainte-Odile. It has the merit of being a nice little town with nice shops, old ramparts and a nice local life.
What beautiful and lesser known Alsatian villages to visit?
I continue this article on the most beautiful villages of the Alsace Wine Route with villages less known than the previous ones but that I love. You will be much calmer there, there are fewer shops, they are often a little smaller but what a pleasure to walk around!
I repeat, all the villages are beautiful and I had a hard time choosing which ones to recommend, but I have put my favorites here… This is a subjective list 😉
I have classified these villages from north to south, so that it is easier for you to organize your itinerary.
Molsheim is at the northern end of the Wine Route, a place that is not the most famous but that is really nice. I like to come to Molsheim, it’s a quiet little town with a very nice central square.
Rosheim is located right next to Obernai, at the foot of the Mont Sainte-Odile, but is often forgotten by visitors. It is not very big but Rosheim has some really beautiful romanesque buildings, including an incredible church. Rosheim is also part of the Alsace Wine Route and the Romanesque Route.
Another beautiful village near Obernai, where you can walk through pretty little streets, admire a sublime Renaissance-style town hall and take a gourmet break at a winemaker’s!
Mittelbergheim is a special village on the Alsace Wine Route. Indeed, don’t expect to find here a plethora of half-timbered houses: the village is known for its Renaissance buildings, which have earned it a place among the Most Beautiful Villages of France. Superb and yet rather unknown!
Andlau is also one of my favorites, especially for its location: impossible to get tired of the overview that one has on this wine village when arriving from either side of the Wine Route: the spectacle of the village nestled in the vineyards and surrounded by mountains is splendid! As a bonus, the village is charming, with a beautiful built heritage.
Itterswiller has a special flavor for me since it was one of the first places I visited in Alsace, long before I decided to settle there. I stayed in the beautiful Hotel Arnold (which I recommend both for the hotel and the restaurant) and was amazed by the beauty of the village but also the panorama from the village. Just park in front of the hotel, the parking lot has a great view!
Bergheim is also a small wonder, located not far from Ribeauvillé. I love to walk through its splendid alleys, in which one is in the peace.
Turckheim is located right next to Colmar and is known for its fortifications (and for the beauty of its houses too!). A night watchman still makes his rounds in accordance with an ancestral tradition, and you can accompany him from May to October as well as during the period of the Christmas markets.
Thann is the last village of the Wine Route, in the south of Alsace. Thann is a small town known for its collegiate church Saint-Thiébault, the second most beautiful gothic church in Alsace. After walking through its beautiful streets, don’t hesitate to go up to the ruins of the castle of Engelbourg for a beautiful view of the surroundings.
When to visit the villages of the Alsace Wine Route?
Most of the year in fact… Except for the winter months (except Christmas markets), which are a bit sad on the Wine Route: the vines have no more leaves, the villages are not flowered anymore and many shops close at this time. This is the time when it is the least pretty and lively. The advantage is that you will have very few people!
During the Christmas market period (from the end of November to the end of December), the villages of the Wine Route are beautiful: Christmas markets are organized in some of them, decorations are installed everywhere and there is a magical atmosphere. Christmas markets are a real tradition in Alsace and you can feel it, the atmosphere is really different from what you find elsewhere.
Spring and summer are really pleasant, with beautiful leaves in the vineyards and flowering villages: choose spring if you want to avoid the crowds in the most famous villages of the Wine Route.
Finally, autumn is probably my favorite season for the colors of the vineyard: when the leaves of the vines take on yellow and orange tones, the show is just splendid! Moreover, the villages are usually still quite flowery if you don’t come too late in the season, and you will have less people than in summer.